Life Below The Fold

by Jonathan Lawrence    February 8, 2013

Three reasons why you should avoid the phrase "Above The Fold."

Out of Date
Remember the early 90s? Remember our monitors that were at least a foot-and-a-half deep? It was then that we viewed the web at a maximum size of 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall. This was also when the phrase “Above the fold” became synonymous with web design. Throughout the 90s, websites were designed with almost ALL content above 600 pixels, so that information wasn’t lost in case the viewer didn’t scroll. Those sites looked like this or this, with lots of tiny, need-to-squint-your-eyes-to-read content.

Today, we all use Google, Facebook and Twitter, which require us to scroll and/or swipe to view more. The Samsung Galaxy S3 phone displays content at 1280×720, in HD, yet somehow the term is still used.

Out of Context
The term comes from a print background, specifically newspapers. A newspaper company’s goal was to sell papers. To do this, they put the most important headline or enticing visual “above the fold” to peek the reader’s interest. The information in the middle of the page would be hidden or cut off, due to the paper physically folding in half. The internet does not fold in half.

Bad Design
Cramming everything into a tiny space isn’t a good solution for anything. What “above the fold” really means is to have the most interesting content higher on the page, just like the newspaper, so that it draws the reader in to the entire site. Sites like Nike and Rdio are great examples.

Your business should use the web to it’s fullest potential. Create a hierarchy. Decide what is most important, and what the viewer should see first. Don’t get hung up on a few industry buzzwords that could leave your business looking outdated.

2 thoughts on “Life Below The Fold”

  1. Great post. I’m sick of above the fold. I think everyone is used to scrolling. While some sites still look great with the “above-the-fold” strategy, there’s much more visual candy when you break the rules.

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